Friday, October 30, 2009

A K-Cup of Joe

Recently, I discovered an invention that changed the way I enjoyed coffee. Like all other areas of daily life for which people constantly strive to make just a little smoother, the necessary-for-many morning activity of brewing a cup of coffee is no exception. The innovators in this area are the makers of the Keurig Coffee Maker, a state-of-the-art brewing device that prepares delicious, piping hot coffee in less than a minute. Instead of brewing traditional ground coffee, the machine works with small cups of tightly packed coffee called K-Cups, available in close to a hundred flavors from dozens of brands. To explore my Keurig machine even further, I opted for a variety pack of these cups, which shipped with four different flavors. Here are some brief thoughts on the quality of each.

Coffee People's Donut Shop variety is your All-American diner offering, reminiscent of a lazy small-town morning or a weekend donut run. It's a generic flavor, but satisfying nonetheless, especially if you're in the mood for a characteristic blend. The blandness inherent in this iteration may lead you instead to an actual donut shop, where you'll enjoy a slightly more faithful representation of the flavors Donut Shop tries to imitate.

Tully's Full City Roast, the true novelty of my newly purchased coffee-maker began to show its true colors. This bold, brazen, brew paints a picture of a foggy Seattle morning; its rich and soothing texture accompanied with a strong, but by no means overpowering dark roast flavor. This genuine blend is coffee in every sense of the word, a forthright flavor with no gimmick added. What Donut Shop lacked in intensity and flavor is more than rescued by Full City, a true coffee drinker's delight.
Next was Mahogany by Caribou Coffee, a brew claimed to be an amalgamation of the finest roasts of Central America. A very woody taste pays homage to this flavor's namesake, and the hints of spice and vanilla make this one a truly unique experience. Definitely a lighter blend than the Full City, but more complex and interesting than the Donut Shop, the Mahogany proved to be an excellent choice, perfect for an afternoon cup or an evening dessert accompaniment. The brew provided an excellent mix of flavors without one becoming dominant, brushing aside a complaint I often have about flavored blends.

My final choice, and undoubtedly my favorite of the bunch, was the Green Mountain Hazelnut blend, which stands out from the rest in its own realm of flavor. The smell that begins to emanate amidst the steam and whir of the Keurig as the first hints of this brew begin to trickle into the cup is as seductive as a siren call. An absolutely sublime, unabashed hazelnut taste encompasses every molecule of the finished brew, avoiding the sugary, syrupy, and un-coffeelike properties sure to come with most other flavored brews.

With such great flavors, each different from the next, the Keurig Coffee Maker provides a unique and convenient way to enjoy this staple beverage of the often sleepless college lifestyle. So the next time you need that kick to wake you up, get you through a paper or keep you up to study, try going for a cup...and make it a K-cup.

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